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The Northern Dialects of Domari

Pages 407 - 450



Domari is an archaic Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Middle-Eastern Gypsies whose self-appellation is Dom. The language, known to us from various word lists from the 19th century, two descriptions of the variety spoken in Palestine and a grammatical sketch of the dialect of Aleppo, remains largely under-studied. This paper presents original data collected amongst speakers of two undocumented varieties—Beirut Domari and Saraqib Domari (northern Syria)—and contrast them with Palestinian Domari and Aleppo Domari. It appears clearly that the dialects of Aleppo, Saraqib and Beirut are closely related and diverge to a large extent from Palestinian Domari. It is therefore possible to postulate the existence of two dialectal areas: northern Domari to which the varieties of Aleppo, Saraqib and Beirut belong and southern Domari, represented by the dialect spoken in Palestine.


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